So, here we are 3/4 of the way through the month of february. If you are thinking about getting bees, waste no time. Orders for package bees began in early January and will be sold out soon. If you are thinking of starting with a nuc, contact your local beekeepers to find out availability. I ordered 5 nucs last month from Mike Palmer, up in St Albans VT, for early may pickup. Within a few days he was booked solid for the season.
A few of the bee supply places like Betterbee may still have packages available. In the past I have ordered a few extra packages just because I knew someone would be looking for them and I hate to see an enthusiastic potential beekeeper get all fired up, only to not be able to get bees. But I didn’t do that this year. Keep in mind that package production is very weather dependent, and you can almost plan on getting your bees 1 or 2 weeks later than your order date. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Again it’s the weather that’s important. I’ve been out in snow flurries putting packages of bees into hives. Then there were years when the weather in Georgia didn’t co-operate so bees were late, and it was beautiful here in the Berkshires and I was looking at fields of dandelions blossoming with no bees to take advantage of it.